If you happen to’re a culinary fanatic trying to find your subsequent thrilling eating expertise, you will wish to attempt Ocean Hai. Located on the white sands of Southern Florida at Wyndham Grand Clearwater Seashore, the restaurant has been getting numerous buzz because of the Chef’s Afro-Asian fusion-inspired menu objects. As Government Sous Chef, Chef Nana Darkwah has created particular Afro-inspired menu objects for the restaurant relating again to his Ghanaian roots, the place he was born and raised.
Darkwah’s distinctive expertise started as a dishwasher at an area restaurant in Pennsylvania; he labored his method as much as turn into the lead line prepare dinner at an Italian restaurant. From there, he moved to Florida, accepting a prepare dinner place at a four-diamond restaurant the place he labored intently with an skilled sushi chef earlier than becoming a member of Wyndham Grand Clearwater Seashore. Now, 5 years later, he continues to deliver the identical degree of enthusiasm he had when he began his place at Ocean Hai.
Marrying his culinary expertise and cultural background collectively, the Ghanaian culinary mastermind has efficiently added world fusion influences to this season’s menu, incorporating burrata ensalada, jollof rice, and yucca fries. We requested Chef Nana Darkwah to share his ardour for meals, the hospitality business, and what evokes his innovation within the kitchen.
EBONY: Are you able to inform us about your childhood and the way it influenced your cooking?
Chef Nana Darkwah: Dwelling again dwelling in Ghana, my childhood was nice, watching and serving to my grandmother and mom use easy elements to make us scrumptious meals daily. This has had an affect on my cooking and on making individuals proud of scrumptious meals.
What impressed you to introduce Afro-Asian fusion dishes to the menu at Ocean Hai, and might you share one among your favourite dishes with us?
The inspiration behind the Afro-Asian fusion is the concept of bringing my childhood African dishes to the mainstream and a beachfront vacation spot. It is extremely totally different from what everyone seems to be doing, which attracts a various group of company. My favorites on the menu are the Gulf grouper, merging contemporary native seafood with Jollof rice and pepper sauce, conventional staples from my childhood in Ghana. Additionally, the rooster dish with rice and beans, bok choy, and candy plantain that are influenced by African and Asian flavors which might have comparable taste profiles and merge effectively. We take each visitor on a cultural journey once they come to Ocean Hai.
Are you able to share with us your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
Onion, garlic, and ginger are a few of my favourite elements to work with as a result of they carry out totally different flavors for various proteins and greens. Additionally, rising up in Ghana, we use these elements in many various meals.
How do you keep inventive and motivated within the kitchen?
My motivation and creativity come from my household. When I’m within the kitchen, it additionally comes from all of the cooks and groups. I work alongside them to create an inspirational dish for all our company. Brainstorming concepts with different cooks and cooks and dealing creatively collectively is one other type of motivation.
Are you able to inform us a couple of significantly memorable meal you’ve got ready in your profession?
Essentially the most memorable meal I’ve ready in my profession was when the chef I labored with within the Italian restaurant confirmed me methods to prepare dinner Pollo ala vodka. This was the dish that began my journey.
What recommendation would you give aspiring cooks seeking to make it within the business?
I’ll advise aspiring cooks seeking to make it within the business to remain affected person and humble. For my part, in case you come into the business considering of constructing a sure price initially, it might not be doable. You need to all the time keep humble and affected person to start out from the underside and work your method up by working onerous and displaying expertise.